Not quite funny, not quite exciting, not quite worth your time.


From the ZomBert Chronicles series

Can Bert the cat and his human girl, Mellie, save their town (and maybe the world)?

Picking up right where the second volume left off, Bert, aka Y-91 (not a zombie but a victim of medical experiments who now has sort-of superpowers), has been captured by the Big Boss of YummCo. Mellie and her friends, free of the influence of mind-control drug Yummconium, are intent upon rescuing Bert and finding an antidote for the townspeople of Lambert. All the while, the Big Boss and her lab tech henchmen Greg and Kari are focused on getting control of the world population via Yummconium and mesmerism. Can Bert complete his mission of rescuing all the animals in the lab? Can Mellie rescue Bert and her mind-controlled family? Or will the Big Boss succeed in turning the world’s population into mindless consumers of everything YummCo? Even readers who have worked their way through the previous two (slim) volumes might be a bit lost at first, as there’s little attempt to catch readers up on the slightly silly plot. Alternating perspectives in the chapters can be a bit jarring. Weak character development and a predictable plot limit this one’s appeal to readers of the other volumes. Andrews’ cartoon black-and-white illustrations are the best feature. Images depict Mellie as dark-skinned. Final art not seen.

Not quite funny, not quite exciting, not quite worth your time. (Science fiction. 6-10)

Pub Date: July 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0108-6

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Having put together a band with renowned cousin Duck Ellington and singer “Bee” Holiday, Rooster’s chances sure look...


Winning actually isn’t everything, as jazz-happy Rooster learns when he goes up against the legendary likes of Mules Davis and Ella Finchgerald at the barnyard talent show.

Having put together a band with renowned cousin Duck Ellington and singer “Bee” Holiday, Rooster’s chances sure look good—particularly after his “ ‘Hen from Ipanema’ [makes] / the barnyard chickies swoon.”—but in the end the competition is just too stiff. No matter: A compliment from cool Mules and the conviction that he still has the world’s best band soon puts the strut back in his stride. Alexander’s versifying isn’t always in tune (“So, he went to see his cousin, / a pianist of great fame…”), and despite his moniker Rooster plays an electric bass in Bower’s canted country scenes. Children are unlikely to get most of the jokes liberally sprinkled through the text, of course, so the adults sharing it with them should be ready to consult the backmatter, which consists of closing notes on jazz’s instruments, history and best-known musicians.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58536-688-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale.


After a tsunami devastates their habitat in the Salish Sea, a young orca and her brother embark on a remarkable adventure.

Vega’s matriarchal family expects her to become a hunter and wayfinder, with her younger brother, Deneb, protecting and supporting her. Invited to guide her family to their Gathering Place to hunt salmon, Vega’s underwater miscalculations endanger them all, and an embarrassed Vega questions whether she should be a wayfinder. When the baby sister she hoped would become her life companion is stillborn, a distraught Vega carries the baby away to a special resting place, shocking her grieving family. Dispatched to find his missing sister, Deneb locates Vega in the midst of a terrible tsunami. To escape the waters polluted by shattered boats, Vega leads Deneb into unfamiliar open sea. Alone and hungry, the young siblings encounter a spectacular giant whale and travel briefly with shark-hunting orcas. Trusting her instincts and gaining emotional strength from contemplating the vastness of the sky, Vega knows she must lead her brother home and help save her surviving family. In alternating first-person voices, Vega and Deneb tell their harrowing story, engaging young readers while educating them about the marine ecosystem. Realistic black-and-white illustrations enhance the maritime setting.

A dramatic, educational, authentic whale of a tale. (maps, wildlife facts, tribes of the Salish Sea watershed, environmental and geographical information, how to help orcas, author’s note, artist’s note, resources) (Animal fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299592-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

Did you like this book?